July 28, 2020. Akemi Johnson ’04 discusses her book, Night in the American Village, which began as her senior honor thesis at Brown. The book brings Okinawan history and modernity to light through the narratives of women. Moderated by Brown Club GSF Board Member Ravi Chandra M.D. ’89, a San Francisco psychiatrist and writer.
I had spent my adult life figuring out my identity in triangulation with the United States and Japan, and on Okinawa I found an island of people doing the same. A contact zone is what Okinawa is called in academic speak—a place where ideologies, cultures, and politics collide. This is familiar terrain for a mixed-race person; in the melding and clashing I recognized something powerful. Instead of pollution or dilution, I saw creation, I saw people forging new identities, networks and spaces.Akemi Johnson, Night in the American Village